Art Safari to Pepón Osorio’s reForm at the Tyler School of Art
Members of the Artblog community paid a visit to Pepón Osorio's reForm, which deals with the controversial 2013 school closures in Philadelphia. – Artblog editor

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On April 2, a small band of Artblog’s staff visited Pepón Osorio’s community-based art project, reForm. A current student at Tyler and an assistant of Osorio’s expertly lead the small group through the exhibit. A conversation with the artist and Temple Contemporary Director Rob Blackson concluded the Art Safari.

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The ladies of Artblog tour Pepón Osorio’s reForm at the Tyler School of Art
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Mixed-media and video art featuring the Bobcats, Fairhill Elementary students who worked with Pepón Osorio on the reForm project
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Backpacks, books and a skeletal teaching aid recovered from Fairhill against a background of student’s essays. The essays detail the student’s love for their school and pleas to keep it from being shut down

Housed at the Tyler School of Art, reForm tells the story of Fairhill Elementary’s untimely closure and of the students evicted. Fairhill was but one of two dozen schools shut down by the city of Philadelphia due to budgetary concerns in 2013. The school remains closed to this day. Osorio collaborated with teachers, students, parents, and neighbors to retrieve abandoned items from the school and create a work of installation art that would decry the injustice Osorio saw in the closing of Fairhill. Osorio also hand-picked a team of students called the Bobcats to act as the public faces of this project. Their stories and personalities make up a large part of the artistic expression in reForm. reForm contains video art and mixed-media installation that communicate a strong sense of emboldened confrontation of injustice and resilience in the face of insurmountable financial struggles.

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Bobcats hard at work at reForm
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A video art component of reForm, addressing the feelings of students evicted from their school
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Mixed-media dolls of the school district of Philadelphia’s leadership, those responsible for the closure of the Fairhill School. Depicted left to right are: Chief of Student Support Services Karyn T. Lynch, Chief Information Officer Melanie S. Harris, General Counsel Michael A. Davis, and former Chief of Academic Supports Officer Donyall Dickey

The exhibit officially closes on May 20. Admission is free and the hours of visitation are Thursday–Sunday, noon–5 p.m. Stay tuned for more Art Safaris coming later this year. Find out more by signing up for Artblog’s newsletters and by following Philly Artblog on Facebook, where upcoming events are announced.

Tags

fairhill elementary, pepon osorio, philadelphia, philadelphia public schools, reform, tyler school of art

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